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REVIEW: Head-direct.com HiFiMan EF2 tube Hybrid Amp with USB DAC - Page 2

post #16 of 1318
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by plonter View Post
great review! i really enjoyed reading it. I already have the EF1 and enjoying it very much, but this review makes me want to g et this one too. boy..head-direct sure makes some really nice products, very low price and worth more than that.

I just have a question...is there a way to connect a optical or coaxial cable to the EF2 somehow without degrading the signal? I am using a dvd player as transport, and i thought that if one day i would get the EF2 i may want to connect it to it. (although i already got a fine headroom dac i would also like to check the EF2'S built in dac)
The only way to connect optical or coax to it would be to get another DAC that accepts optical and coax inputs and feed it into the RCA inputs, something like the Super Pro DAC707 at ALO Audio, or iBasso D10 or Headroom Micro DAC if you are looking for small and not too expensive (just now saw you have a Headroom DAC).

Quote:
Originally Posted by knugge View Post
Great review. I have a technical question though. I have a Macbook and play my music in itunes. Does itunes automatically send the music out through usb when the dac/amp is connected, or how does it work?
See Currawong's post quoted a little below this spot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plonter View Post
where those 6J1 tubes can be found..? i searched in 2 tubes dealers sites and didn't find this kind of tubes. by the way..how are those stock chinese tubes headphoneaddict? except their brightness, are they listenable with?
I didn't look for 6J1 tubes since Skylab contacted me after he saw a post I made about needing tubes and offered to sell me a very nice pair of Raytheon 6AK5 equivalent tubes. I understand Little Dot amps use these?

Anyway, the stock tubes I said in my review were still very nice - so, no worries there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
I imagine it's the same other USB DACs -- You open up Audio Midi Setup (in Applications -> Utilities) and select the USB DAC as the output. To make it easier to switch, you can download a menu extra called SoundSource that saves you having to open Audio Midi Setup.

Neat looking little amp by the way, and nice review.
Right, and thanks. The SoundSource menu sound switcher is found at Rogue Amoeba | Quality Audio Software for Mac OS X I think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oxophone View Post
Great job, HPA - as always. Seems like the ideal solution I was looking for.

1. How heavy is the set up - is it portable?
2. Which DAC will pair best with EF2 - PICO or Ibasso D10 ?
3. Would the SQ improve, if fed with a better and clean power supply?

Please reply; accordingly, I will make a plan to buy these.
I mentioned in the review that it uses 16V AC adapter, so it can't be used on a battery pack. So, since rectification is done internally I suspect it will be the same as with the DACMagic and not improve with a power supply - maybe with a power conditioner in your power strip?

It pairs equally as well with D10 and Pico, but the pico sits on the end-table to the left of my armchair with laptop on my right using a 6 foot USB cable, and the D10 connects with a 6" optical cable, so I didn't have interconnects long enough to reach the EF2 from the D10.

Quote:
Originally Posted by myk7000 View Post
Haha I've been waiting for this review. Thanks a bunch!

AGHH currently I'm in a quite confused state. I've reduced my cans setup to just a pair of hd600s and I could pocket over 300 dollars by selling my d10->gilmore lite setup and just getting the ef2 but I don't know if I should....

If I travel alot, does this device seem transportable?
The D10>Gilmore Lite is still a more resolving system, so I can't say how you would like the downgrade. It is certainly transportable - just attach a foam pad to the top with a rubber band, and stick it in your brief case.
post #17 of 1318
Larry, excellent review, as usual. It's great that you continue to review affordable gear, since this product will be of great interest to a very large percentage of head-fiers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
I didn't look for 6J1 tubes since Skylab contacted me after he saw a post I made about needing tubes and offered to sell me a very nice pair of Raytheon 6AK5 equivalent tubes. I understand Little Dot amps use these?

Anyway, the stock tubes I said in my review were still very nice - so, no worries there.
Right - the Chinese 6J1 is equivalent to the western NOS/vintage 6AK5. The 6AK5 is very readily available in lots of very nice varieties - US 6AK5, Western Electric 403A, European EF95 and CV4010, almost all of which can be had very cheaply, and in the amp I use them in (Musical Paradise MP301), sound much much better than the 6J1.
post #18 of 1318
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post
Larry, excellent review, as usual. It's great that you continue to review affordable gear, since this product will be of great interest to a very large percentage of head-fiers.



Right - the Chinese 6J1 is equivalent to the western NOS/vintage 6AK5. The 6AK5 is very readily available in lots of very nice varieties - US 6AK5, Western Electric 403A, European EF95 and CV4010, almost all of which can be had very cheaply, and in the amp I use them in (Musical Paradise MP301), sound much much better than the 6J1.
thanks..now i got it. 6AK5 is a brand i saw, i just didn't know it's another name to 6J1.

it's too bad that the EF2 has no coaxial/optical inputs also.
post #19 of 1318
This will be my bedroom dac/amp thanks for reassuring me HPA
post #20 of 1318
Thanks for enlightening me Currawong. I have never tried connecting any usb-devices ,that handles audio, to my mac. It seems easy enough.
post #21 of 1318
Great review; is there any way to use the dac separately from the amp?
Sometimes I switch from headphones to self-powered speakers, in which the amp isn't really needed.
post #22 of 1318
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shasty View Post
Great review; is there any way to use the dac separately from the amp?
Sometimes I switch from headphones to self-powered speakers, in which the amp isn't really needed.
No, you'd have to connect the EF2 headphone out to the self-powered speakers. I'm one of those peeps who keeps an ALO 1/4" to RCA adapter laying around, just for the times when I may need to feed a headphone jack into another amp. Haven't tried it with this one yet.
post #23 of 1318
Thanks for the review HeadphoneAddict.

I've been looking for a little upgrade for my setup, currently I'm using a stock iBasso D1 with optical output from my Macbook. I was thinking to sell my D1 to get a iBasso D10 or get a better amp and keep my D1 as a DAC, but now this EF2 draws my attention.

Would it be an upgrade or am I moving sideway if I get EF2 as a DAC/AMP combo or use it to go with D1's DAC? Or am I better off to get a iBasso D10 in terms of SQ?

Thanks heaps.
post #24 of 1318
Excellent Write-up! Expect nothing less from Fang, and it appears that we have no reason to be disappointed. Is it worth replacing the EF1 for though, rather than having the money locked up in a marginal difference?
post #25 of 1318
A question concerning the DAC :

Is this a higher quality DAC than the one found in the 6G ipod classic?

More specifically, would it be a better option to run USB -> EF2 -> SR225i or iPod -> LOD -> RCA -> EF2 -> SR225i?
post #26 of 1318
Great review HeadphoneAddict. Looks like I may be purchasing a Pico DAC for my EF1 down the road. I did upgrade the tube to a RCA clear top about a week ago by the way. I will say that the RCA tube was a very nice upgrade from the sylvania one. I am very pleased with the RCA clear top.
Pico DAC-only, here we come.
Thanks again.
post #27 of 1318
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by irodori View Post
Thanks for the review HeadphoneAddict.

I've been looking for a little upgrade for my setup, currently I'm using a stock iBasso D1 with optical output from my Macbook. I was thinking to sell my D1 to get a iBasso D10 or get a better amp and keep my D1 as a DAC, but now this EF2 draws my attention.

Would it be an upgrade or am I moving sideway if I get EF2 as a DAC/AMP combo or use it to go with D1's DAC? Or am I better off to get a iBasso D10 in terms of SQ?

Thanks heaps.
I had my D1 upgraded with AD743 on a 2:1 adapter (but AD797 also worked great) with AD8397 as buffers, and LT6234 in the DAC. I never got around to trying the LTC6241 in the DAC section, but I've heard it is very nice too. I thought the DAC line out was slightly less warm than the Headroom Micro DAC which I liked a little better than the D1. With the upgraded opamps the headphone out sounded warmer and seemed to work better to feed another amp than using the line out.

Anyway, the D1 amp section with those opamps was very good, but maybe not quite up to the EF2 level in power or romance. The D1 USB DAC was not as good as the EF2 USB DAC, but the D1 optical DAC was better.

So, you have all the information you need to decide if you should upgrade your D1 opamps, switch to the EF2, or add the EF2 and use the D1 optical DAC - depending on your budget. I suspect you'd like using the D1 optical DAC to feed the EF2 more than using the EF2's built-in USB DAC, but you may be surprised and find yourself selling the D1 after you get the EF2 burned-in with upgraded tubes.
post #28 of 1318
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qonmus View Post
A question concerning the DAC :

Is this a higher quality DAC than the one found in the 6G ipod classic?

More specifically, would it be a better option to run USB -> EF2 -> SR225i or iPod -> LOD -> RCA -> EF2 -> SR225i?
I don't have a 6G Classic to compare to. My 5.5G iMod with iMod LOD is better than the EF2 USB DAC (and most other USB DAC except the Pico), and with my iPhone I only use the headphone out. However, I did find the EF2 DAC to sound better than my 4G Nano with nice LOD.
post #29 of 1318
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
I had my D1 upgraded with AD743 on a 2:1 adapter (but AD797 also worked great) with AD8397 as buffers, and LT6234 in the DAC. I never got around to trying the LTC6241 in the DAC section, but I've heard it is very nice too. I thought the DAC line out was slightly less warm than the Headroom Micro DAC which I liked a little better than the D1. With the upgraded opamps the headphone out sounded warmer and seemed to work better to feed another amp than using the line out.

Anyway, the D1 amp section with those opamps was very good, but maybe not quite up to the EF2 level in power or romance. The D1 USB DAC was not as good as the EF2 USB DAC, but the D1 optical DAC was better.

So, you have all the information you need to decide if you should upgrade your D1 opamps, switch to the EF2, or add the EF2 and use the D1 optical DAC - depending on your budget. I suspect you'd like using the D1 optical DAC to feed the EF2 more than using the EF2's built-in USB DAC, but you may be surprised and find yourself selling the D1 after you get the EF2 burned-in with upgraded tubes.
Thanks for your info, HeadphoneAddict, it's very helpful.

Now the EF2 looks like the best candidate for my upgrade. Speaking of upgrading tubes for EF2, how difficult is it given I have no experience with tubes or opamp rolling?
post #30 of 1318
Thanks a lot for the review! I may just buy this for my upcoming return to the college dorms.
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